single hung window

How To Repair A Double-Hung Window That Won’t Stay Up

If you have a double-hung window that keeps falling down you know how extremely frustrating it can be.  Having this occur most of the time can even be a safety hazard or also keep your home from remaining cool in the warm summer months.  The good news is, repairing an old “dropped” double-hung window doesn’t…

If you have a double-hung window that keeps falling down you know how extremely frustrating it can be. 

Having this occur most of the time can even be a safety hazard or also keep your home from remaining cool in the warm summer months. 

The good news is, repairing an old “dropped” double-hung window doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace the window. Double hung windows can be repaired with a few steps.

Double-hung windows in particular have a very unique problem: The sashes can usually fall down rather than stay up in place. This issue can affect the top and bottom sash, and it will cause your upper sash to fall down when you’ve tried to shut it, or it can cause the lower sash to fall shut when you want it open. In this article we’ll dive into how to repair your double hung windows that won’t stay up or are facing other problems.

Step 1. Remove the Window Sash

Each section of glass on a double-hung window is called a sash. On a double-hung window, there are two sashes: the upper (or top) sash and the lower sash. These panes of glass slide up and down on pulleys in opposite directions.

Usually, the lower sash will be the one that won’t stay up. (However in either case though, the solution to repair your window is the same.) 

To begin start by removing the sash. This is done by using a screwdriver to remove the stops on the inside of the window frame near the lower sash. Pull the lower sash toward you to pull it out. If you encounter window cords or chains, remove them or knot them to keep them out of the way.

If the upper sash needs to be removed, take out the parting beads (the vertical seals on either side of the window frame). Like with the lower sash, pull the upper sash in toward you to remove it and remove or knot the cords or chains.

Step 2. Locate the Coil Balance Shoe

Start off by locating the balance shoe. Usually for double-hung windows that won’t stay up, the balance shoe has fallen down to the bottom of your window frame. You may have accidentally moved it down, thereby forcing your windows shut so you could lock them at night.

Step 3. Find the Tilt Pin

The window sash will have a tilt pin on either side, this is located in the balance shoe. These tilt pins allow the sashes to open in an outward position for easy access when needing to clean the window and also for possible future repairs. Locate the tilt pin. It’s a little piece of metal usually 3” in length which looks like a “U.” There will be one located on both sides of the window frame.

Step 4. Open the Balance Shoe

Look at your tilt pin, if it’s in a “U” shape it means it’s in a lock position. You’ll have to begin by unlocking it. Take a flathead screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver directly into the pin vertically and slowly turn it to the left 45 degrees to unlock. After the turn it should now resemble a “C” shape when unlocked.

Step 5. Adjust the Pin

Your balance shoe will most likely be at the bottom of the frame. This will need to be adjusted. Reposition it around 2 inches from the bottom of the lower sash. After you’ve complete this, relock the pin. This is done by placing the flathead screwdriver back into the balance shoe and slowly turning the tilt pin up. This will allow it to relock into the “U” position.

Step 6. Reposition the Lower Sash

Lower the window back down to the position where you’ve reset (and relocked) the balance shoe.

You’re next going to want to tilt your lower sash outward to realign the bottom of your window with the balance shoe, which will enable it to remain up. 

This is done by removing the tilt latches at the top of the lower sash. Tilt your window out and allow it to rest horizontally. 

Double-hung windows have tilt lashes on both the lower and upper sash. Apply a gentle but firm pound on the left and right sides of the window at the point where the balance shoe and lower sash meet. 

You’ll hear and feel a small pop when the balance shoe and tilt pin reengage.

Step 7. Adjust the Window & Test

You can now snap the lower sash back into position. Confirm that the tilt latches are fully hooked into the frame. Start moving your window up and down to make sure it’s working correctly. If it stays up it’s working properly and you’ve successfully completed the repair.

Troubleshooting Steps 

Sometimes there may still be other issues affecting your double-hung window from staying up, here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot.

  • Go through steps 1-7 again: Make sure the pin locks and the balance shoe and tilt pin reengage. Try applying a little harder push to get the pins to lock.
  • Conduct the same steps on the upper sash: This should help your window return to alignment.
  • Swop out the balance shoe with a new one: The balance shoe in your window may be broken or old and needs to be replaced. 

If you’re still having issues with repairing your windows, it may be best to reach out to a window repair specialist. Our team at Revitalize Windows And Doors will be happy to assist you with your window repair needs. Servicing Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Markham, Richmond Hill and surrounding regions, we’re your go to window and door repair specialist. Give us a call at 416 906-4395 or send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to provide a free quote for your window repair. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to repair a double-hung window?

Each type of window repair is unique and varies in price depending on the type of repair. Because double-hung windows have two sashes and numerous pieces of hardware, similar to locks and handles, there are many parts that can break over time. Depending on which part needs to be replaced will determine the cost. 

Can you replace just part of a double-hung window?

You can most definitely replace just a part of a double-hung window. Because there are two operable sashes, you can replace just the lower sash or just the upper sash. In most cases you don’t even have to replace the entire sash and it’s mostly old or damaged components that needs to be swopped out.

How do I know if I need to replace my double-hung window?

There are usually numerous signs that can indicate if it’s time to replace a double-hung window. If the window is drafty and inefficient, you may need a new window to block out air leaks and keep your utility bills from skyrocketing. Some other signs that it’s time for a new window include foggy glass, soft or broken window frames, or window sashes that won’t open or close easily.

Why do I have to repair a double-hung window?

If your double-hung window upper sash keeps falling down, this means you could be letting out warm air in the winter or cool air from the AC in the summer. Which then causes your HVAC system to work harder to warm or cool the house, resulting in higher cost on your electric bills.

If the lower sash continues to fall down, when you’ve popped open the window to let fresh air in, the sash could slam shut. This can be really annoying every time. It can also be very dangerous for smaller children or pets that like to hang out by the window.

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Our exceptional team at Revitalize Windows & Doors prides ourselves on providing the best customer service for our clients’ window and door repair needs. Our attention to details and our competitive pricing is what separates us from our competitors. Servicing the greater Toronto area and surrounding regions.


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